We cruised from Honolulu to Sydney via Tahiti. We have cruised before with RCCL and HAL and I have always wanted to do this itinerary. Three girls I worked with were keen so we all booked it along with our families. In all we were a group of 22 ranging from 6 years to 60 plus years. Only four of the kids were actual kids, the others were adult children in their 20s. All the parents had cruised before but only two couples had done a Carnival cruise before.
A long line for embarkation but we weren't in a rush to board because once we sailed we had 5 sea days to Tahiti and I wasn't quite sure how we'd handle them, we have only had 2 in a row before. We got on board eventually and found our cabin which was fantastic. A 9B Premium Balcony, the cabin is a bit larger than normal and a square shape and the balcony was very big, with a lounger out there as well as a small table and chairs. The balcony door is very heavy, it is the first time I have wished I took a bungee cord to keep it open. This would also shut off the air conditioning which I wanted to do as the cabin and the whole ship was absolutely freezing, it was like an arctic blast when you walked into the Lido from the pool.
I will summarise a bit otherwise this will go forever:
- overall we had a great time, found it to be relaxed and unpretentious, a real emphasis on having fun which we liked
- we enjoyed the comedy shows (lots of them) some better than others but some really great. Loved Doug Funk and another guy whose name I didn't get who performed on his own one night then I was hoping he would be on again the next night but it was the other comedian who had missed the boat the day before!Didn't love many of the shows in the main theater but have decided they just really aren't my thing
- kids club great kids enjoyed it
- green thunder very fun you have to try it
- enjoyed Stu found him quite funny, the kids liked him and wanted to know if we'd had "a Stu" on our other cruises. If he told us to put sunscreen on one more time I was going to scream though.
- Serenity deck lovely but forget getting a "pod" you had to be out there at 5am to get one I think some people never used their cabins just lived there!
- ship very noisy and creaky and a lot of movement considering the calm seas we had
- they restocked the library with a lot of new books after Suva with emphasis on Australian authors it was the best library I've seen at sea
- drinks especially cocktails cheap by Australian standards(but that might change now it is in Australia permanently)
- decor totally over the top and I did not like design of ship at all. I found it dark inside with not enough views of the ocean. I much prefer RCCL ship design
- sometimes organisation not that great we stood in more lines than have on other cruises but was it was a repositioning with lots of new things happening.
- food extremely good was much better than our RCCL experience on Mariner of the Seas (although I think that was possibly a particularly bad cruise in terms of food) and was very close second behind the Volendam (HAL). It way exceeded my expectations for Carnival. Red meat particularly good, desserts also, 24 hour pizza (free) was very good (new recipe someone told me), salads lovely, great noodle and asian dishes, I could go on but getting hungry! A few things deep fried that weren't great but other than that big thumbs up.
- there were lines for any time dining if you went straight after a show eg 7:30 was busy but other times not
- service for anytime dining was hot and cold, sometimes great sometimes very slow. I think I would actually try set dining next time
- 3 pool set up works well always somewhere to lie around pool even though weather great
- gym good helped offset overeating!
We had perfect weather the whole time so the sea days flew reading around the pool and relaxing. It was a great decision doing it this cruise with friends as it was nice to meet up with them and that helped stop the sea days feeling like groundhog day.
We heard a lot of people complaining about a lot of things on this cruise but we met a lot of people having a great time too. Overall we had a lovely time: perfect weather, good friends, amazing ports, great food, and what wasn't perfect was not worth wrecking a great holiday worrying about!
We did Patrick's Maohi Nui lagoon tour with lunch in Bora Bora - best day ever if you are ever in Bora Bora do this tour.